With more LMS implementations under our belt than we’d care to count, we’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a project go smoothly. So here are our top 6 recommendations to ensure you get the result you hope for from your LMS implementation.
1. Know what you’re looking for
Sounds simple but lack of knowledge and upfront planning around your organization’s technology and learning requirements is generally the biggie that tends to derail an LMS implementation. Our advice is to think things through upfront and hold internal workshops that involve all the key stakeholders, including your end users and know how their needs can be met. Then work with your LMS provider to map this onto the LMS and have a good understanding of how the product will solve these issues. It also helps to examine your current business processes and communicate them clearly to your LMS provider. And remember that sometimes by slightly tweaking your processes you can take greater advantage of the full LMS functionality to ensure you optimize the complete range of features on offer.
2. Set Expectations
Being fully aware of the full LMS feature set is critical. Know what’s offered as standard and then the other elements that may have to be customized. Some customizations are straightforward and others not so much, so best to know what to expect. Where changes may be required have a clear understanding of the process for change requests, the timeframes and the costs, and don’t be afraid to ask your vendor, they should have nothing to hide. Often the change process is overlooked at the initial stages and results in issues further down the line with unexpected time delays and additional costs being incurred. A good up front understanding of the product features, the extras and the process for adding more functionality sets clear expectations from the outset.
3. Set Timeframes
A detailed project plan is critical to ensure the project stays on track. Your vendor should put the plan together but it’s important that you, as the customer review it in detail. The plan should cover each stage of the project from requirements gathering to user acceptance testing. Knowing these dates is important as you will need to have resources (people and technology) in place to meet specific stages of the project. Things can easily get pushed out and delayed because resources are not in place but your vendor should manage the plan tightly and inform you of the implications of missing key project milestones and dates.
Frequent communication is key to keeping the implementation project on track. We recommend weekly progress calls for project status updates but also ensure that your project manager is fully accessible in between these meetings. Frequent and constant communication by both email and phone helps ensure a successful implementation.
5. Choose a good team
Each LMS implementation is different, some require more changes and customizations to the product, some require less technical input. Look at your specific LMS needs and choose an implementation team that will play to the team members’ strengths to ensure success. At the very least we recommend that you include business users, technical resources and testers (both business and technical). Don’t forget to include a good project manager to work closely with your LMS vendor’s project manager.
Make sure LMS training is included as part of the package. We’d recommend that training take place prior to the user acceptance testing stage of the project. This gives you a much better understanding of the product features and your customizations. This makes the testing process more efficient and effective.